For the debut of its new MGA in 1955, MG wisely chose that year's Le Mans 24 Hour race; after a succession of open-wheeled models there were fears of an adverse reaction to such a streamlined car, and it was felt that by showing the MGA in competition first the aerodynamic shape would be accepted as a performance essential. There had been some delays, however, in getting the go-ahead for production, MG owner BMC declining, having already agreed with Donald Healey to built the Austin Healey 100; it was the success of a highly streamlined MGA prototype, which took several records up to 153 mph, which finally persuaded BMC to relent.

The competition successes of the ZA Magnette had already proven the potential of its new 1,498 cc four-cylinder engine and this was chosen for the new MGA. With 68 bhp at 5,550 rpm - soon raised to 72 bhp - the MGA was capable of 0-60 mph in 15 seconds and 97 mph while the predictable handling, via independent coil spring front suspension and live leaf-sprung rear axle, was almost foolproof. The car was an instant success and in 1956 the roadster was joined by a fixed head coupe.

The high performance MGA model, the Twin Cam, was launched in 1958. With aluminum crossflow cylinder head, larger SU carburetors and 1,588cc capacity, power rose to 108bhp at 6,780rpm, as did top speed to 115mph with 0-60 reduced to an impressive 9.1 seconds. It had all-round Dunlop disc brakes and center-lock disc wheels. Production ceased in April 1960 with just 2,111 examples made.

This Twin Cam roadster was restored a number of years ago and has since seen very little use, having resided in a substantial private collection. Correctly finished in British Racing Green with black leather upholstery and carpets, the car is described as good in all respects.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1961 MG A Twin Cam

SN YO311590 was sold at the Coys 13 June [1996] auction in London for $23,395. Twin Cam fortunes seem to be coming back after a four year hiatus. Decent roadsters are now in the $20,000 – $25,000 range, with coupes $3,000 – $4,000 less.

Be aware that the original engineering on the Twin Cam engines was yet another nadir of wretched English execution of a basically sound concept.

The engines puked oil, destroyed main bearings, chewed up pistons and ate valves. Other than that they were fine.

Modern engineering has solved nearly all Twin Cam problems, but the owner who wishes to drive their car hard will probably best be advised to fit a five-main bearing MGB engine and keep the Twin Cam Jewel in its most natural setting, on an engine stand in the garage.

Twin Cam values will percolate along with the MG roadster market, neither leading nor following it. They are a decent buy at current prices. – ED.

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